Fran Dunphy paid a visit to the Virgin Islands last January.
No, it wasn’t a brief getaway during the middle of a hectic basketball season.It was all business.
Dunphy was there to scout Craig Williams,
a 6-8 power forward who averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds a game as a senior at Central High, in St. Croix. Dunphy liked what he saw. Thus, Williams became the fourth member of Dunphy’s first full recruiting class last week when Williams signed a National Letter of Intent.
“He’s a good basketball player, very young and still has his best days in front of him,” Dunphy said in a telephone interview last week. “I think a lot will depend on his work ethic and how well he wants to be. But you can say that about most recruits. All recruits.”
Dunphy said he first heard of Williams, who played for the Virgin Islands Junior National Team, through former men’s basketball coach John Chaney and Director of Athletics Bill Bradshaw. Williams had caught Chaney’s eye at one of his basketball camps in Philadelphia.
Williams, who joins 6-9 forward Lavoy Allen and 6-10 center Micheal Eric, is one of three frontcourt players who comprise the four-man class. The lack of an interior scoring presence was a big issue for the Owls last season, which often forced Dunphy to employ a four-guard set for offensive support.
The Owls finished 12th in rebounding in the 14-team Atlantic Ten Conference, getting outrebounded by an average of 4.5 boards a game.
This trio could change that.
Williams notched 36 points and 12 rebounds
at the All Virgin Islands Hoop Classic two weekends ago. The performance earned him Most Valuable Player honors.
Allen Rubin, an editor for HoopScoopOnline.
com, said Williams’ talent is tough to judge, because of the league he plays in.
“It’s a tough league [to judge] because the competition is weak,” Rubin said. “He’s two or three inches taller than everybody.
“He’s a nice big body,” Rubin added. “He can post up and has good low-post moves. He can step out and shoot. He’s a good rebounder – not a great rebounder, but a good rebounder.”
Rubin observed Williams’ skills while watching him play in a pick-up game.
“He looked like he had to tone his body and build his stamina. He has good potential. It’s just how quickly he can make an adjustment to real American basketball.”
Dunphy said he expects Williams’ biggest
on-court adjustment, like most recruits, will come in playing defense. Williams will also have to adjust to playing against a much higher level of competition.
“I think the environment here is a little different in the big metropolitan areas,” Dunphy said. “You see a lot of different players in the city. Where he’s coming from, perhaps [the athletes aren’t so different]. You can overcome anything with hard work and determination.”
MEN’S BASKETBALL NOTES
Anthony Ivory’s experiment with the football team is over. The 6-10 sophomore did not participate in Saturday’s Cherry and White Game, which concludes the football team’s spring practice schedule. Also, his name has been removed from the football team’s roster. . . .
The Owls top three scorers last season – Dionte Christmas, Mark Tyndale and Dustin Salisbery – each received All-Big 5 honors Monday at the Herb Good’s Club 62nd annual banquet. Christmas, who led the A-10 in scoring, was named to the First Team. Tyndale, who ranked second in the A-10 in scoring, and Salisbery, who averaged a career-high 16.4 points per game, earned Second Team honors.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.